Charges have been filed against a former supervisor at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s crime lab.
A prepared statement from FDLE said that investigators believe 32-year-old Gerald Graves replaced prescription pain pills with over-the-counter medications while processing drug cases since 2005. As a crime lab analyst, Graves had worked nearly 26 hundred cases for 80 law enforcement agencies in 35 counties, including Escambia and Santa Rosa.
Graves is free on 290 thousand dollars bond. State Attorney Bill Eddins says he faces a number of charges.
“They are either possession of illegal drugs or trafficking in illegal drugs, depending on the amount of pills that were involved,” Eddins said. “The other charge is tampering with evidence in each case, where he filled out a report and switched the pills, as well as an overall charge of grand theft.”
All charges are felonies. If convicted of the drug trafficking charges, Graves faces a mandatory minimum 25 years in prison on each count. Eddins says additional charges could be filed later, after FDLE agents complete their investigations into every affected case.
Assistant State Attorney Russ Edgar will be the lead prosecutor. Pensacola attorney Michael Griffith will serve as Graves’ defense counsel. Calls to Griffith by WUWF were not returned.
State Attorney Bill Eddins says Graves’ arraignment is scheduled for February 25th, with a “not guilty” plea expected. After that, the case’s timeline will be a lengthy one; discovery, depositions and other pre-trial activities could take up to a year.
Eddins says all cases that come into his office are important, with some more serious than others. This particular case, he says, “goes to the heart of the criminal justice system.”